The candidates I’m presenting to you today are three players of quality and their future is a constantly subject to media speculation and declarations that are bound to see them play on a different turf come next season. Two of these players, both being fully established internationals for their country are currently warming the subs bench and are getting close to no playing time at their respective clubs. The third, and undisputed star in his native country is playing in a league that although thrives on the cash provided by this or that oligarch, is far from having the prestige of the traditional leagues which we are all accustomed to. These players have also been mentioned by many of you in your comments, so let’s take the occasion to present them and perhaps include them on our wish-list for next summer’s transfer window.
Eljero George Rinaldo Elia is an exciting winger, attacker and attacking midfielder. The 24 year old Dutch international is currently on the books at Hamburg where coach Veh has strangely marginalized to bench warming duties. The Dutch attacking powerhouse, like most talented dutchman of this age, is on the watch-list of most of Europe’s top Clubs. Elia moved from Twente to Hamburg in July 2009 for a fee close to Euro 9 million. He will be definitely on the move this summer, and the Reds will keep a close tab on him if they are intent on securing more quality on their left wing of the attacking front.
Ibrahim Afellay is a 24 year old (25 in April) exciting Dutch forward of Moroccan descent. It is claimed that the Reds made an offer for his services to PSV Eindhoven but he opted to do an ‘Ibrahimovic’ and chose FC Barcelona instead. Given that the blau-grana continue to dominate world football, his choice could be deemed the most logical, but players should now look at what happened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and say “If he didn’t make it, will I?’’. The Swede did not make it because Barcelona works as a unit, and the jaw dropping forward is not much into hard-lined schemes and tactics. Afellay has found life at the Nou Camp harder than expected, and will be itching for more playing time at the highest level. Barcelona would be looking to recover the Euro 9 million spent on the player, who plays as an attacking midfielder with verve and speed and is never shy of having a shot at goal.
Keisuke Honda needs no introduction for those that know world football. The 24 year old Japanese midfield playmaker cum attacker was the master of Japan’s success in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Voted ‘the most valuable player’ in the recent 2011 Asian Cup, Honda is an exciting player to watch and is phenomenal in set pieces with his venomous strikes bearing a resemblance in power and trajectory to an ex-Man Utd star we all loved to hate (and admire). Currently plying his trade with CSKA Moscow for whom he signed in December 2009 for a reported Euro 6 million on a four year contract. Bringing the blonde samurai to Anfield would be a very amazing experience and a possible financial bonanza, as the Reds would force their way into a football crazy market like Japan. Can you imagine merchandise sales with Honda in a Reds’ shirt??? Apart from the millions of replicas shirts sold in the land of the rising sun, the best thing about his arrival would be that it would not just be a marketing exercise, because he truly is an exciting player.